Mar 23, 2012

Why hasn't my Android phone been updated to ICS?

I'm a pretty patient guy. I read about ICS, got excited, and waited. I'm still waiting. I have a Motorola RAZR, which may not be brand new, but it isn't as if I'm packing a 3 year old device. I just read an article that said 1.6% of all Androids worldwide are running on ICS. 1.6%!?! I realize a significant amount of Android devices out there are bordering on obsolete and just don't have the hardware to run ICS, but I am pretty sure that 98.4% of all Androids aren't incapable of running ICS. Why is it taking so long for the ICS update to take place?


In addition to what the previous commentor said, carriers are a major hurdle too. They will also want to customize it to remove features (like tethering) and add their own bloated applications to the OS.

Finally, both manufacturers and carries would prefer not to update older devices (atleast in a timely fashion), because obviously it would mean lesser sales.

But the beauty of Android is that it's open - you can download a custom ROM based on ICS or even get an official ICS update which might have been released for other countries/carriers. Check out http://forum.xda-developers.com for more info. This is something that iPhone users miss out on, and is a major advantage of Android. Heck, the ancient Google G1 phone - one of the very first Android devices to be released - can run ICS (with everything working), thanks to the community. Now I'd like to see someone try and run iOS 5 on an iPhone 1. ;-)

I believe it has to do with the customizations done by the Android vendors. Google can roll out as many versions of Android as it wants, but the phone vendors decide when and if they will be available for their phones.

Some older Android phones may not ever get upgraded. This fragmentation is one of the biggest problems with Android, and one reason why the iPhone has such an advantage over them in some respects.

So all you can do is hope that your phone will be upgraded. But you may be forced to buy a new phone at some point to get the latest version of Android. Or you can dump Android and buy an iPhone.
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